Olkusz market square
|• Mayor||Roman Piaśnik|
|• Total||25.63 km2 (9.90 sq mi)|
|• Density||1,400/km2 (3,700/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+1 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+2 (CEST)|
32-300 - 32-305
Olkusz [ˈɔlkuʂ] (Yiddish: עלקיש Elkish, German: 1941-45 Ilkenau) is a town in south Poland with 36,607 inhabitants (2014). Situated in the Lesser Poland Voivodeship (since 1999), previously in Katowice Voivodeship (1975–1998), it is the capital of Olkusz County. From 1941 to 1945, the occupying Germans renamed the region to Ilkenau. Olkusz is called 'Silver Town" because of the large amount of silver that was found and mined here.
The city is on the Baba (river), with a major road reaching it from Warsaw and Kraków, making it the central city of the vicinity. Tourists who wish to visit the nature and historical sites, start from here. Also, Olkusz is located on the main railroad line, which connects Upper Silesia and Zaglebie with Kielce.
On the city's website a myth is cited that the city was founded by ancient Phoenicians (Canaanites) who traveled here and found lead ore. The origin of the name Olkusz is cited as the ancient Phoenician (Canaanite Hebrew) "Elkhuds" meaning "to chisel." However, the Hebrew word for "to chisel" was "lakhrot" and the likelihood of the ancient Phoenicians having reached Poland is very low.
A first written historical document from the year 1299 refers to the city of Olkusz, located in the Lesser Poland province of the Kingdom of Poland. The city was initially ruled by ethnic Germans, and the inhabitants were mostly wealthy, due to the lead mines. Silver was discovered too. Various wars crossed the path of this city, which was at its lowest at the end of the 17th century (see: The Deluge).
- Francesco Nullo, Italian and Polish patriot buried in Olkusz
- Antoni Kocjan, a national Polish war hero, pilot and engineer was born here.
- Roman Catholicism 4 parishes:
- St Andrew's Basilica
- St Maximilian Maria Kolbe Church
- St Barbara Church
- Good Shepherd Church
- Jehovah's Witnesses
- Seventh-day Adventist Church
- Jewish (7.8% of the population before the holocaust)
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Twin towns – Sister cities
Olkusz has a partnership with:
- Paweł Blehm, a Polish chess grandmaster
- Marcin Bylica a.k.a. Martin Bylica and Marcin z Olkusza, a Polish astrologer, astronomer
- Paweł Czarnota, a Polish chess Grandmaster
- Antoni Kocjan, a Polish war hero and famous glider engineer
- Henryk Mandelbaum, a Polish survivor of the Holocaust
- Tadeusz Rydzyk, a Roman Catholic priest and Redemptorist
Media related to Olkusz at Wikimedia Commons
- Official website
- Olkusz's Internet forum
- Olkusz city website, with contemporary images
- Nature around Olkusz
- Jewish Community in Olkusz on Virtual Shtetl
- Images of the Bloody Wednesday of Olkusz (Note that the name is Rabbi Hagerman and not Hangerman.)
- Images of deportation during the holocaust WWII
- The full story of the famous Olkusz image identification (in Hebrew)
- Olkusz -full screen gallery